Taking care of a pet dog involves a myriad task. Apart from providing them with a proper diet and shelter, you must also keep a check on the health of the animal. As we all know, dogs are among the most popular pet animals. If you intend to raise a pet dog, it will be beneficial to be aware of some of the common illnesses in these animals.
Dogs are commonly found to get infected with parasites, which may sometimes affect humans too. Besides that, some of these parasites may lead to severe health problems in dogs with heavy infestation. So, it is very much essential for a pet dog owner to identify and control such parasitic infections in their pets.
While some of these parasites thrive inside the body of the host (dog), some others are found on the coat and the skin of the animal. The former types are called internal parasites (like roundworms and heartworms) and the latter types are external parasites (fleas, ticks and mites).
Fleas are the most common type of external parasites in dogs. Apart from causing extreme discomfort to the affected dogs, these parasites are also found to cause dermatitis and bacterial skin infections. They are also found to spread tapeworm infection.
Heavy infestation of fleas may lead to anemia in dogs, as these parasites feed on the blood of the host. They can be controlled effectively with proper measures. There are various methods to get rid of fleas in dogs. You may opt for flea collars, flea combs, flea shampoos and topical medication.
What are Flea Combs?
Most of the pet owners may have a collection of dog combs meant for grooming their pets. These include dematting combs, massage combs and flea combs. While dematting combs have wide-spaced teeth that are meant for untangling matted hair, massage combs or rubber curry combs are specially designed for massaging the skin of the animal.
You may also find metal combs with wide-spaced teeth at one end and finely spaced teeth at the other. This is one of the best options as you can detangle the hair with one end and follow the grooming with the other end. Fine-toothed end is also helpful in removing parasites from the dog's coat. In case of flea infestation, you may opt for a flea comb too.
A flea comb is nothing other than a finely spaced comb that is used for removing fleas and their eggs from dog's hair. Nowadays, you may find many different types of flea combs for dogs. Some of the latest models use electric charge to kill fleas. You have to choose the best type, as per the fur type of your dog.
You may opt for one that is suitable for both felines as well as canines. Even though, dog flea combs are effective in removing fleas, you may not be successful in eradicating them, if you rely solely on this method. So, it is better to supplement use of flea combs with other flea removal methods.
How to Use a Flea Comb?
Flea combs are excellent alternatives to flea-removing chemicals that may be harmful for the dog. However, you must have a fair idea about the proper use of these combs. Let us take a look at some tips on how to use a flea comb on your dog.
- Make sure that the hair of the dog is completely dry as flea combs are usually used on dry hair. If the dog has matted or tangled hair (as seen in long-haired dogs), then, detangle it before you use this comb.
- You may also opt for wet flea combing. In this method, you have to use a wet spray on the coat, before using the comb. The ingredients in the spray will cause discomfort to these parasites, which will start moving frantically. This makes it easier to catch them with the comb.
- Another part of preparation is to keep a bucket of soap water ready. This is to kill the fleas that are removed from the pet's coat. You may also use sticky tape to stick the fleas as you catch them with the comb.
- The next step is to choose a well-lit location, where you can do this task. Place a sheet of paper on a table and let you dog sit on that. It will be better to have another person assist you, while you comb the dog.
- Once the preparation is done, start combing the coat of the dog. Start from the face and work towards the back and tail. You may also part the hair in different sections, so as to ensure that each and every part is covered.
- Firm strokes towards the direction of hair growth is always preferred. Concentrate more on the belly, as there are chances that fleas may take refuge in this area. After every two to three strokes, put the fleas on the comb to the soap water in the bucket.
- However, you must avoid touching the skin, as the sharp tooth of the comb may cause injury. So, once you are done with combing, check whether there is any scratches or wounds on the skin of the dog. If you find such injury, use an antiseptic solution to clean them.
The given information is only a brief overview about flea combs and their use. You may also use home remedies for dog fleas like neem oil and garlic. If you are using wet sprays, while, combing, then make sure that you use it in small amounts. As fleas can transmit tapeworm, it will be better to consult your vet for deworming medication for your pet.
You must also take measures to make your interiors and premises free of fleas. Flea combing must be done at an interval of every two to three days, so as to eradicate these parasites completely.
Even after getting rid of fleas from the pet's body, you must check the coat regularly. This will help you in detecting re-infestation at the very onset itself. Another point to note is that if your pet is not comfortable with flea combs, then opt for some other flea removal methods.